Section on Critical Brain Dynamics, NIMH

Andreas Klaus, M.S.
Section on Critical Brain Dynamics , National Institute of Mental Health
Porter Neuroscience Research Center
Bldg 35, 3A-104
Bethesda, MD 20892-3735

Photo of Andreas Klaus, M.S., Graduate Student


        10/1999-10/2002   B.Sc.   Computer Science   University of Applied Science (HTWK), Leipzig, Germany  

        4/2003-7/2006   M.Sc   Computer Science   University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany  

Research Interests:

I am interested in the cortex-basal ganglia circuit, which is involved in reward-mediated coding of higher cortical functions. Dysfunctions of the basal ganglia uncover fascinating aspects of brain functions, for example the loss of initiating movements although individual movement programs are still functional (Parkinson's disease). The striatum is the main entry of the basal ganglia. It contains the highest concentration of the 'reward' neuromodulator dopamine and it receives inputs from almost all cortical areas. The aim of my research is to gain a better understanding of how the striatum processes these highly complex cortical inputs as a function of dopamine through detailed computational modeling and neurophysiological experiments.

I am a PhD student in the Karolinska Institute and NIH Program for Graduate Training (GPP). During my first year, I modeled a network of electrically coupled striatal fast-spiking interneurons. This network provides feedforward inhibition to the principal striatal neuron, the medium-sized spiny projection neuron, which computes striatal output to subsequent brain nuclei of the basal ganglia (J. Hellgren-Kotaleski & G. Silberberg, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden).

During my second year as a graduate student, I am focusing on whether and how neuronal avalanches in the cortex are processed in subcortical structures such as the striatum. This experimental work, which is carried out in Dietmar Plenz's Section on Critical Brain Dynamics at the NIMH, takes advantage of cortex- striatum- substantial nigra organotypic triple cultures grown on planar integrated multi-electrode arrays. This in vitro system allows us to study simultaneously striatal activity and neuronal avalanches in the cortex for long periods of time under precisely controlled in vitro conditions. The figure on the right shows a live image of a cortex-striatum-substantia nigra triple culture. The 8x8 microelectrode array (dots = electrodes) cover half of the cortical and half of the striatal network. Substantia nigra area outside image borders.

See also

Selected Recent Publications:


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